Halloween – The Black Cat
Many people associate black cats with witchcraft, bad luck and evil. In the Middle Ages it was believed that witches could transform themselves into black cats to inflict harm and evil. This actually led to a widespread killing of black cats. Anyone thought to be a witch was burned alive, along with their black cat. In turn stray black cats were captured and destroyed.
Black cats became known as the demonic companions of witches.
So because of the bad wrap they got, they are now forever in the ranks of mean, evil and creepy. All the things that Halloween is made of.
Many myths and legends surround this poor feline, both good and bad:
- In Medieval Spain and France it was believed black cats brought bad luck and put a curse on those who came near them.
- In Europe and the U.S.A. it is believed that being in the presence of a black cat means bad luck is on its way.
- English sailors believed that keeping the black cats happy and fed would grant them fair weather at sea.
- If you dream about a black cat good luck is coming your way.
- In the Celtic nations black cats were sacred.
- Scottish lore holds that a black cats arrival at a new home meant prosperity.
- Welsh lore states the black cat brings good health.
- In Germany the belief is that if the black cat crosses you right to left it is a bad omen. Crossing left to right is a good omen.
- In France they have the chat d’argent and matagot (magic cat), black cats who have the power to attract wealth in a house where they are well loved and fed.
- In 1232 Pope Gregory IX decreed that the black cat was the incarnation of Satan. A far fetched idea for sure, but his opinion was held in high regard and resulted in centuries of fear of the black cat.
- King Charles I believed his black cat brought him luck, the day after his feline friend passed away he was arrested for treason and soon beheaded.
- In Ancient Egypt cats were sacred, worshipped and protected. Every house and temple had at least one black cat watching over it. It was a way also to worship the goddess Baset ( a goddess with the head of a cat)
On Halloween black cat figures are made of cutouts and stencils and used to decorate Halloween festivities. They are usually depicted with glowing eyes and arched backs.
Millions of people own black cats and like all cats they are stubborn and single minded. They do however make loving house pets in return for some good care and attention.
To celebrate the redeeming qualities of black cats and to dispel all the myths surrounding them there are several holidays to honor them. National Black Cat Day is just one. On this day you should celebrate black cats by :
- Adopting one
- Giving your black cat a gift of a special treat such as catnip
- Post pictures of it on social media
In the U.K. they have a Black Cat Awareness Day to draw attention to the hundreds of of homeless black cats. Black cats are typically less likely top be adopted or purchased as a pet. Sadly in October many pet shelters suspend adoptions of black cats for fear they would be harmed on Halloween.
Like everything, its all about your own take on things. Personally I see no reason to deliberately harm a cat of any color. Superstitions and myths are just that, they are not based on actual facts but rather what someone perceives it to be. Look beyond color (a life lesson) adopt a black cat.
You’ll see how purrfect they can be!
When black cats prowl and pumpkins glean,
May luck be yours on HalloweenUnknown